Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dec. 2017 Book Report and Re-cap

I read 64 books this year. Not too shabby. 

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These High, Green Hills (1996) by Jan Karon

Father Tim and Cynthia get married. Miss Sadie dies and leaves her vast fortune to Dooley. Through the power of the Internet, Dooley’s mother is found.
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Demelza (1946) by Winston Graham

2nd book in the Poldark series. Ross struggles in getting his mine going. His rival, George Warleggin tries to take over and drive Ross out of business
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Out to Canaan (1997) by Jan Karon

Father Tim decides to retire but still keep his hand in by being an interim pastor. Edith Mallory tries to buy the town of Mitford.
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A New Song (1999) by Jan Karon

Father Tim interims in the coastal town of Whitecap. He and Cynthia get to experience a hurricane. Dooley’s mother Pauline and Buck get married.
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The Difference Engine (1990) by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

Supposedly the book that got the whole Steampunk genre started. It takes place in London in 1855. My son-in-law heard about this book and told me about it. I got it and was spellbound. Awesome ride!
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Wonder (2012) by R.J. Palacio

I did some research when the movie came out and was intrigued. I got the book to read before I saw the movie, and I’m glad I did. The movie was outstanding, but I think I enjoyed it more having read the book first. Young Auggie struggles valiantly with his facial deformity with the strong support of his family and friends. Read this book!! See the movie!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas With Louise

Many years ago this story made its way through email. I thought it was hilarious and saved it in a file. It would make the rounds every few years or so in the email system, and then I forgot about it. This year I thought about looking for it and posting it on Facebook for Christmas. I have no idea the origin or authorship of this story, but I feel it should be told…enjoy!
As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings were overflowing, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like:
“What does this do?”
“You're kidding me!”
“Who would buy that?!?”
Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for "Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination.

On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours, long after Santa had come and gone. I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home and giggled for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll."
"Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued.
"Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran!” Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny! Hang on!"

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, “Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?” I told him she was Jay's friend. In a few minutes I noticed Grandpa had sidled up to the fireplace and was talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed, I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car.
It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.

Later, in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health. Louise went on to star in many family celebrations after that first Christmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Five Senses – Sound – Pro & Con

 Sound – Pro

Music. I can enjoy just about any genre except rap and screaming noise. My biggest sorrow is that I can’t sing, and I LOVE to sing.

Nature. Sit in a quiet place and listen. Bird song. Insects. Wind in the trees. Rain. Ocean waves.

Distant work, especially in the summer when the windows are open. I just love to hear lawn mowers, chain saws, hammering.

Laughter. Especially babies. Laughter can ease a lot of sorrows. Except for my singing. People laugh at my singing…*sigh*

The voice of a loved one. Especially when it’s been a while since you’ve heard it. 

Sound – Con

Traffic. Horns, screeching brakes, loud sound systems

Sirens. Whether it’s an ambulance or fire engine, it means something bad is happening.

My singing. Yes, it’s that bad.

Arguing people. Whether it’s on TV or in person, I hate listening to conflict.

Strange noises in the car. Although they rarely show up when Marv drives it. The car is mocking me, I know…